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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. The earthy or mineral particles of combustible substances remaining after combustion, as of wood or coal.

2. Specifically: The remains of the human body when burnt, or when returned to dust by natural decay. Their martyred blood and ashes sow. (Milton) The coffins were broken open. The ashes were scattered to the winds. (Macaulay)

3. The colour of ashes; deathlike paleness. The lip of ashes, and the cheek of flame. (Byron) in dust and ashes, in sackcloth and ashes, with humble expression of grief or repentance; from the method of mourning in Eastern lands. Volcanic ashes, or volcanic ash, the loose, earthy matter, or small fragments of stone or lava, ejected by volcanoes.

Origin: oe. Asche, aske, as. Asce, aesce, axe; akin to OHG. Asca, g. Asche, D. Asch, Icel. & Sw. Aska, dan. Aske, goth. Azgo.